2010 Mountain Hikes of the Echo Shores "Over the Hill" Hikers

Hiking Journal 2010

by Beverly DiVaio

I've listed below each mountain we hiked, the date and who participated, along with comments about the hikes.  The comments include input from the other hikers.  Also included in each section is a link you can click on to see pictures we took during each hike.

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Mt. Long Stack - Elevation 1,204 ft. - Wolfeboro, NH

Date: 4-24-10

Hikers:  Paul and Eleanor Apholt, Rich and Beverly DiVaio, Don and Peggy Hughes, Jerry McCabe, Dave Roberts, Glen Lush

Comments:  Dave and Glen are experienced hikers who invited us to join them on a crystal clear, calm spring day.  Our group was honored to have been invited on this hike, as Dave's knowledge of the Lakes Region mountain ranges is extensive, and he has created and published detailed hiking trail maps of both the Belknap and Ossipee ranges.

We joined Dave and Glen at about 8:00 AM at the old Alton stump dump on Rines Road where we could see the nearly vertical rock ledges beneath the peak of Mt. Long Stack. We then drove to the trailhead near the banks of Knights Pond.  The trail's incline is fairly gradual, and at times we walked along old stone walls and commented about the hard physical labor involved in clearing the hillside for sheep pastures long ago.  We saw trailing arbutus blooming in several clearings.  Deciduous trees were budding out and at the summit shad trees were blooming. Dave told us that early settlers called the trees shad trees because they blossom when the shad fish return to spawn.

On the ascent we crossed a large field which provided excellent views to the northwest and north, including Wolfeboro, the Ossipee range, and a snow-covered Mount Washington.

At the summit, we sat at the top of the vertical rock face we had viewed from below before the hike and enjoyed the expansive view from the southeast to the west, including the southeastern section of Lake Winnipesaukee, the Belknap Mountain Range and Blue Job Mountain. The lake was calm with very little boat traffic this early in the year. Dave described many possible future hikes to add to our “bucket list”. During the hike, Dave and Glen shared an amazing amount of knowledge about geology, flora and wildlife with us.  Speaking of wildlife, spring is the time of year that dog ticks become prevalent and we had to remove our share from our clothing.  At least this hike preceded black fly season, although there were at times some non-biting bugs buzzing around our faces.

The trip back to the car was uneventful until one of our group took a tumble and we ended with a trip to Huggins Hospital to have a cut leg stitched up at around 12:00 noon.  Our overall hike was about 3.2 miles long.

Many thanks to Dave and Glen for including our group on this hike.

Click HERE to see Don's photos taken on this hike. 

Click HERE to see Glen's photos taken on this hike. 


West Rattlesnake and East Rattlesnake Mountains - Elevation approx. 1,240 ft. each - Holderness, NH

Date: 4-30-10

Hikers:  Don and Peggy Hughes, Rich and Beverly DiVaio

Comments:  We left Echo Shores about 9:10 AM on another crystal clear mild day.  We started our hike at a well marked trail head on Rt. 113 at about 10:00 AM.  The trail system for the Rattlesnakes is marked and maintained by the Squam Lake Association.  Their stewardship appears excellent.  The trails are very well marked and in remarkable condition.  We climbed over a large dead birch tree that appeared to be newly fallen (probably during a wind storm yesterday).  It had been cut up and dragged off the trail by the time we made our way back down the trail to the parking lot.

We hiked up the Bridle Path Trail to a small section of the Ramsey Trail. The many colors of spring green on the deciduous trees, early blooms on flowering violets, blueberries, and strawberries and Chokecherry blossoms were extra special after speaking with another hiker who spoke of the snow her family encountered yesterday in Pinkham Notch.  The view from the rock ledges on West Rattlesnake seemed endless.  We could see the remaining snow on the Flintlock Trail at the Gunstock Ski Area, and we watched the wind patterns created on Squam Lake directly below us. From there we took the Ridge Trail to East Rattlesnake.  We had lunch on the summit at about noon and enjoyed another great view of Squam Lake and the surrounding mountains.  On the trail between the mountains we walked by what appeared to be an animal den in an old tree stump.  During our round trip we saw about a dozen other hikers of all generations.  We were back at the car at 1:50 PM, and were back home at 2:40PM.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Mount Molly - Elevation approx. 1,250 ft.  - New Durham, NH

Date: 5-17-10

Hikers:  Jerry McCabe, Don Hughes, Celeste Weberg, Rich and Beverly DiVaio

Comments:  We left Echo Shores just before 10:00 A.M.  The trail head for the hike is the same one we used while heading up to Devil’s Den from East Alton last year.  We left our car near a family cemetery on Chesley Road at about 10:15 AM.  We walked southeasterly down the dirt road (Chesley Road) to a junction with Devil’s Den Road .  We then went northeasterly on Devil’s Den Road until we came to a clearing on the right.  We then went south/southwesterly up an old logging road to the Mt. Molly summit.  Near an old house trailer parked along the logging road we sat on a granite bench near a large fire pit and got a glimpse of Mt. Washington, with Lake Winnipesaukee and part of Wolfeboro in the foreground.  At the Mt. Molly summit we ate an early lunch at 11:10 A.M. and enjoyed views of Merrymeeting Lake and a number of mountain peaks.  Dave Roberts, a hiking and photographic friend, had given us photos with the hills and mountains labeled so we could identify what we were seeing.  We are getting better at identifying many of them after a few years of hiking locally.  The weather during this hike was perfect.   Many spring wildflowers and wild low bush blueberry plants were blooming, and the bugs weren't bad.   On the way back down to the car we investigated two old cellar holes and an old family cemetery.  We were back to the car at 1:10 PM.  The overall hike was 4.2 miles long.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Welch and Dickey Mountains - Elevation approx. 1,800 and 2,700 ft.  - Thornton, NH

Date: 5-28-10

Hikers:  Paul and Eleanor Apholt, Dan and Celeste Weberg, Rich and Beverly DiVaio, Tim Noe, Ray Petro

Comments:  We left Echo Shores around 8:30 A.M. and reached the trail head at a White Mountain Forest parking lot off Orris Road, Thornton around 9:40 A.M.  A parking permit is required to park at White Mountain National Forest trailheads and parking areas, which can be obtained in the parking lot.  We followed a well maintained yellow blazed trail for a loop hike starting up Welch Mountain and then Dickey Mountain.  It was a perfect spring day, except for the pesky black flies that we found on all granite ledges at the higher elevations.  The views from both rocky summits were outstanding.  We had great views in all directions.  The granite ledge that we hiked on was worn and contained interesting formations.  My brother Ray hiked with us.  He lives in Thornton and was able to tell us a little about some of the mountains and buildings we looked at.  We ate lunch on the summit of Welch at noon, and then followed the trail to Dickey.   There is a cairn in the valley between the two mountains.  From a distance it appears to be “normal size” of up to about 3 feet.   Once we hiked up to it, we found it to be much, much taller!  The two peaks are very close together, so we were rewarded by views very quickly. The hike is a very popular hike on week-ends.  We only met a few hikers.  The hike was 4.5 miles.  We were back home by 3:30.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Mount Shannon - Elevation 1,265 ft.  - Gilmanton, NH

Date: 6-8-10

Hikers:  Don Hughes, Rich and Beverly DiVaio

Comments:  The hike trail head is located on Griswold Hidden Valley Scout Reservation at the Camp Bell Boy Scout Headquarters parking lot.  We went mid-week before school gets out so the camp was quiet.  If you are planning to hike and the headquarters building is open, please go in and register.  For the first part of the hike we followed the dirt road in front of the “winter cabins” between the lake and the headquarters building.  We followed that until we saw the Mt. Shannon trail, which was well marked with a yellow painted diamonds on trees.  We left the base at 9:22 A.M. and were on top by 10:00 A.M.  The weather was in the low 70’s with no bugs or humidity.  From the top we got views both to the south and the west.  We got good views of Lake Manning, Lake Eileen, Sunset Lake and Hill’s Pond.  Lake Eileen looks pristine, with no homes on it and Don dreamed about the fish swimming in it.  I wasn’t familiar with most of the hills, except for Avery Hill and Prospect Mountain.  As we left the summit by way of the yellow/blue blazed trail,  we got a view west towards the Belknap range that I did recognize.  At the base of the mountain we reached a marshy pond with an active beaver lodge and many tall standing dead trees.  There were a couple of huge heron nests near the top of two of the trees.  A heron was perched above one nest, probably guarding the baby birds from predators while the mate was out hunting for food.  We followed the blue, then red trail to the shore of Sunset Lake where we had lunch along a quiet beach.  We then followed an old logging road through the scout camping areas back towards the car, passing canoes, a rope lashing station, many tent sites, very nice rifle, skeet shooting and archery ranges, and the Easter Seals building.  All looked well maintained and ready for a busy summer.  The overall hike was 3.8 miles, and we arrived back at Echo Shores around 1:00 PM.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Cedar Mountain Area  (To See The Mountain Laurels In Bloom) - Alton, NH

Date: 6-14-10

Hikers:  Dave Roberts, Don Hughes, Rich and Beverly DiVaio

Comments:  Heading towards the Bay from Echo Shores, Cedar Mountain can be accessed for hiking via an old unused dirt road on the right directly after passing the Rt. 11 "Scenic View".  We met Dave at the beginning of the dirt road at 11:45 AM and walked up the road almost to the end, where we turned left through the woods.  Dave has done so much hiking he simply knew when to turn!  We hiked along the western side of Cedar Mountain.  Shortly after passing to the southeast of a swampy area on our right, we came upon a stand of blooming mountain laurels.  There area here is at the plant’s northern limits of survivability. 

Dave shared with us his extensive knowledge of many native plants, including Indian Wild Cucumber, which my Audubon guide asks that people no longer pick because of the plant’s scarcity.  He identified the bird calls of many of the birds we heard, including an oven bird that has a remarkable ground nest.  We saw a large owl and ate some sweet juicy wild strawberries.  We were back home by 2:30 PM.  As always, Dave suggested a number of local hills and mountains to add to our “bucket list" of future hikes.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Mt. Flagg - Elevation 2,350 ft. - Tuftonboro, NH

Date: 6-25-10

Hikers:  Paul Apholt, Don Hughes, Rich and Beverly DiVaio

Comments:  We left Echo Shores shortly after 9:00 AM and signed in to the Merrowvista Camp Office on Canaan Road in Tuftonboro at 9:50 AM  (the trailhead for Mt. Flagg starts at the camp.)  The camp is next to Dan Hole Pond, and the campers were arriving the following Sunday.  The camp grounds were impressive and every staff member and counselor we spoke with was very friendly.  The trail starts down a camp dirt road.  From there the trail turns into the woods and is labeled with a sign and it is blazed in yellow.  After crossing two small wooden “bridges” over brooks, we came to a fork in the trail.  The trail to the right goes to The Ledges and is blazed in white.  We stayed to the left (straight ahead, actually) on the yellow blazed trail, which leads to Mt. Flagg.  The trail is very well marked, and it took us through a mixed forest and, in places, through fields of boulders.  We met only one other hiker, a camp counselor, on the entire trail.  There were three blown over large trees that we climbed over.  We passed a log shelter with green metal roof slightly off the trail that campers use in season.  While we were hiking through mixed evergreen trees near the summit, we saw signs of deer damage on the trees.  We  saw moose droppings in several spots, saw one small snake, and mole.  Greeting us at the summit was a slate (or northern) junco bird singing from the tip top of the highest tree on the summit.  We ate lunch at 11:45 AM and the view was expansive and breathtaking.  I think this is the first hike that I found absolutely no litter to pack out.  From the Mt. Flagg summit a trail goes on to Mt. Shaw.  We arrived back at the camp office at 1:20 PM and signed out.  We found out that when the camp is closed, there is a hike to a waterfall available, and the Dave Green Trial leading to the ledges on Canaan Mountain. The hike was about 3.4 miles overall.  When we signed out of the camp, we were shown a pamphlet called “Let’s Walk!!" which describes 15 "Local Walks for all Ages and Abilities", a project of the Tuftonboro Bicentennial Steering Committee.  It looks like a great source of future hikes and walks for our “bucket list”.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Great Hill Lookout Tower - Elevation 1,247 ft. - Tamworth, NH

Abenaki Lookout Tower - Elevation 766 ft. - Melvin Village (Tuftonboro), NH

Date: 9-10-10

Hikers:  Tim Noe, Don and Peggy Hughes, Paul and Eleanor Apholt, Rich and Beverly DiVaio

Comments:   We decided to start easy after a hot, humid summer.  This was a beautifully cool early fall day.  These two towers are very easily assessable and can barely be called “hikes”.  The Great Hill Lookout Tower is no longer used as a fire tower, but it is well maintained.  From Tamworth Center, we followed Great Hill Road to a well marked trail head.  The trail starts as part of a snowmobile trail, and it is a well maintained and marked.  The view from the top of the tower is wonderful.  Some of us had reached this tower by snowmobile a couple of years ago by taking the trail from White Lake State Park in Ossipee.  Today's hike was 1.5 miles long, roundtrip.

Our next stop was at Abenaki Tower on route 109 in Melvin Village. There is a gentle walk a  short distance up a dirt road directly to the tower.  The tower itself is constructed of huge pine logs and it is very well maintained by local volunteers for the enjoyment of all.  The view from the top of the 100 foot tower is just over treetop height and looks across Moultonborough Bay towards the Weirs and the Belknap Mountain range.

Click HERE to see photos taken on the Great Hill Lookout Tower hike.

Click HERE to see photos taken on the Abenaki Tower hike.

Alpine Zipline - Lincoln, NH

Cascade Park - Woodstock, NH

Artist's Bluff - 300 ft. Elevation Gain, Franconia, NH

Date: 9-23-10

Hikers:  Paul and Eleanor Apholt, Tim Noe, Dan and Celeste Weberg, Rich and Beverly DiVaio

Comments:   The Alpine zipline adventure was our first stop.  We boarded our bus to Barren Mountain across from the Dunkin' Donuts on Main Street in Lincoln.  For the trip up Barren Mountain itself, we were in a 1970s era troop transport vehicle!  We went on the Skyline zipline.  The first section of the zipline that we went down was the easiest.  I’m sure it was planned that way to help us gain confidence.  After that, the successive ziplines got faster and more challenging.   We even had the opportunity to race each other. 

Our second stop was at Cascade Park on the Pemigewasset River in downtown Woodstock.  We saw the foliage on the maple trees turning already.  We walked on the smooth granite forming the cascade.  It was a nice peaceful stop; no rushing water at this time of year.

After lunch we walked up to Artist's Bluff.  The trailhead is in an over flow parking lot for the Peabody Slopes section of Cannon Mountain Ski Area.  The street signage was very good. The trail was well marked up to the Bluff.  From the Bluff, there is a good view of the Peabody ski slopes. During the past few summers, a couple of female bears have been seen regularly with their cubs eating blueberries on the ski slopes.  Artist's Bluff is a great location to view them with binoculars.  We didn’t see any wildlife, but did find some very big moose tracks in a muddy section of the trail.  We did not continue in a loop to Bald Mountain, but went back the way we came, a total distance of about a mile.  Through another view point, we got a great view of Franconia Notch.

Click HERE to see photos taken on the trip.